Going around Horse Mountain was definitely scenic, and we enjoyed the slow climb. We didn't take any spurs, so we made decent time through all of the weaving through trees that the trail does. It was remote, even with all of the people camping.
It didn't take long to get to the reservoir where we stopped to stretch our legs. There was a huge hill in front of us that we'd been watching for a little while as we got closer, and it looked like that was where the trail went. Monica explored one side trail but found it gated, a way that would have gone to Alkali Creek Road in a very short distance. Bummer.
Matt went up the hill first after we had a discussion about the weird gate at the bottom. There was a sign noting that the trail was currently open, with a chain across it. But well-used trails went around it on both sides. We guessed that someone had long forgotten about the chain, or they leave it up as a barrier during the winter, when you can't see the other side trails under the snow.
It's definitely a steep hill. Matt climbed and climbed until he was out of sight, and then he radioed down to tell us that an ATV was coming down. Monica and Walt waited for the ATV, and then headed up. We all went through the gate, closing it behind us. It was a fun climb!
There were a few other fun climbs, but none of them rivaled the big one. The trail looped around, and we saw camping hunters all the way to the end. We stopped at a spot that looked like hunters had prepared it earlier, but it was currently unoccupied. It was a good place for lunch, and we took our time enjoying the peace and quiet.
It wasn't long after lunch when we found the end of the trail. Walt posed on a rock, and we all got out to check out the views. It was pretty impressive, and chilly in the wind of the exposed and unnamed hill. It was definitely worth the long trip to get there.
On the way back, we noted how many side trails were closed at gates to private property, with exit paths blocked. They would have been very short paths out to main roads, so it was kind of a bummer to see. But it meant we had to go all the way back out Horse Mountain Road to get back. It was long, but it was still enjoyable. And we had time to do Bocco Mountain, too.